Mucho Gourmet Sandwich Shoppe, in my opinion, is one of Santa Fe's best kept secrets. Even though they are always packed, and have nothing but positive online reviews, no one I asked had heard of Mucho. After living in Santa Fe for some time now, I thought I had eaten at the majority of the good restaurants in town, or at least heard of all the restaurants as well established as Mucho Gourmet Sandwich Shoppe, which has been open for 21 years. Even though they had escaped my downtown centric dining attitude, they not only impressed me culinary-wise, but they managed to shake my confidence in my blossoming status as a Santa Fean transplant.

But hidden gems like Mucho are one of the wonderful things about this city; you can drive the length of St. Michael's Drive every day for a year and still find some wonderful corner of culinary delight in the Lowes parking lot.

Mucho is clearly pandering to the lunch break crowd. They have no weekend hours, are open at 10:30 am and close at 3 pm. They also deliver from 11 am-2:30 pm, a feat not many restaurants in Santa Fe can claim. When I inquired about the range of their delivery zone, I was asked to name a place. "We deliver anywhere if the order is big enough, we've even delivered to Pecos and Taos," I was told by the cashier.

The service at Mucho was fast and accurate. We had only been sitting for five minutes when our name was called. Our sandwiches, wrapped tightly and stuffed in white paper bags, were ready for travel. Although there were a smattering of tables and chairs, most of Mucho's customers order take out. The line at the register reaches to the door every few minutes before dispersing.

The menu at Mucho is divided into gourmet sandwiches, from the grill, "More Great Sandwiches," salads and soups of the day. They serve an assortment of chips, bottled drinks and fountain drinks that come in giant (and my boyfried would argue, collectible) reusable plastic Coke cups. To the left of the register is also a barrel of dill pickles ($2.25 each). Most entrées are under $10 and there is plenty of room for customization for picky eaters and a Mucho Meal Deal for $12  that includes any sandwich, a bag of chips and a fountain drink.

Altogether we ordered three sandwiches. One ham and cheese ($7.75), a Santa Fe cheesesteak ($8.05) and, because we all need a little jolt in our life, the cryptic Mucho Turkey Surprise ($8.05).

The ham and cheese, which is available grilled and cold, was simple and filling with a delicious spicy mustard. It's the everyman's sandwich.

The cheesesteak is satisfyingly spicy, with enough green chile to earn its name. The steak was chopped into thick pieces, making every bite chewy and substantial.

The best one out of the lot was the surprise. Before Mucho, I had only found one other restaurant that made this sandwich and that was only during the Thanksgiving season. The surprise seems to be that you don't need to have holiday leftovers to enjoy this cranberry, mayo, turkey, stuffing and lettuce sandwich. I've ordered this sandwich several times and been equally satisfied each time.

My only complaint about Mucho is that the cookies which come complimentary with every sandwich were not as good as I expected. Although I appreciated the gesture, the cookies were stale and lackluster. Besides this small complaint, the food at Mucho is exactly what I want from a lunch restaurant.

Mucho has figured out what they're good at and who wants it. Although the sandwiches aren't boring, they aren't interested in ruining a classic for the appearance of culinary inventiveness. The gourmet options they have are all variations on sandwiches you'll find familiar. Filling and delicious, Mucho is clearly a standard in the Santa Fe lunch scene. It's hard to believe it took me so long to find, which is why I'm spreading the word. See you next lunch break!

Mucho Gourmet Sandwich Shoppe
Monday-Friday 10:30 am-3 pm
1711 Llano St., Stes. F & G